Lung cancer and diabetes complications consistently top the list of the many reasons OTR drivers are taken off the road. The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund is working hard to reduce the rates of both lung cancer and diabetes through the Driven to Be Healthy program.
Rigs without Cigs
November is recognized as Lung Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn about causes of lung cancer, recognize those who have been diagnosed, and to take action in reducing your risk. On the third Thursday of each November, during the Great American Smokeout, organizations and individuals come together to focus on eliminating one of the most preventable causes of lung cancer – smoking. One in every sixteen people will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime. Smoking is estimated to be the cause of 90% of lung cancer diagnoses and approximately 80% of lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and while the odds of survival are improving, the most important step you can take to reduce your risk is to quit.
The St. Christopher Fund offers a free, comprehensive tobacco cessation program, Rigs without Cigs, to help reduce the rates of lung cancer within the OTR trucking community. To qualify, participants must be a Class A CDL OTR semitruck driver.
Health & Wellness Manager, Lindsey Bryan, is a Tobacco Treatment Specialist, certified through the MD Anderson Center. Lindsey works with each participant of the Rigs without Cigs program to understand their unique challenges, develop a treatment plan that meets their needs, and provide support along the way. Weekly check-ins allow for an opportunity to problem solve, set goals, and celebrate new tobacco-free milestones. Thanks to sponsors RoadPro, Grinds, and Call on Doc, participants have a variety of quit methods to choose from to help make their goal a success. “This program has changed my life”, a Rigs without Cigs participant recently shared – a sentiment voiced often by those who join the program. From the inception of Rigs without Cigs, 215 participants have successfully quit smoking or tobacco use, 134 cut their tobacco use in half, and another 90 received support to remain tobacco free.
In addition to committing to quit smoking, it is important for tobacco users to speak with their doctor about lung cancer risk, and to consider seeking lung cancer screening if eligible. Adults between the ages of 50 to 80, who have a 20 pack-year smoking history (having smoked 1 pack per day for 20 years, ½ pack per day for 40 years, etc.), and who currently smoke or who have quit within the last 15 years may be eligible for a low-dose CT each year to help detect lung cancer early.
To learn about Rigs without Cigs or to join, please visit: https://truckersfund.org/healthwellness/rwc/
Diabetes Prevention Program
November is also American Diabetes Month. Diabetes has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing chronic diseases worldwide as well as one of the most expensive. More than 37 million people in the United Stated are estimated to have diabetes, a condition that occurs when blood sugar is too high. People with diabetes are at risk for damage to the eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys, skin, and even for developing certain types of cancer. A recent report from the American Diabetes Association shows the estimated annual direct medical costs of diabetes are a staggering $306.6 billion, with an additional $106.3 billion in indirect costs such as disability and premature death.
The St. Christopher Fund hopes to reduce the impact of diabetes on OTR drivers by providing free courses through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). DPP is a 12-week virtual course, open to Class A CDL OTR drivers, and is led by the St. Christopher Fund’s Health & Wellness Manager and Certified Lifestyle Coach, Lindsey Bryan. Topics include nutrition label reading, exercise and activity, the science of sleep, goal setting, and more, all focused on reducing the risk for diabetes. Smalls group settings allow for OTR drivers to share challenges unique to the industry and learn from other drivers.
To learn more about SCF’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit: https://truckersfund.org/diabetes-prevention-program/
For OTR drivers who have already been diagnosed with diabetes or are experiencing other chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, the St. Christopher Fund also offers Healthy Habits for the Long Haul (HH4LH), a free 12-week virtual course focused on managing chronic conditions.
To learn more about SCF’s Health Habits for the Long Haul, please visit: https://truckersfund.org/healthy-habits/